I stuck with pads until college, when my period showed up a couple days early. Oops! I was unprepared, with no choice but to buy a tampon out of the machine in the restroom. I sat in the stall for a few minutes before I could even try to insert the thing. I did better this time: at least it was in the right way, but I hated the way it felt–like some alien appendage up in me–and I switched it out for a pad as soon as I got home.
My friends swore by tampons, saying they were super convenient and even comfortable, but I just couldn’t see (or feel) it. I’d only used tampons a few other times: another period emergency, on a morning kayaking jaunt, and when I was in a costume where even a thin pad wouldn’t do. And, um, NONE of those were pleasant occasions. The thought of women walking all around the city wearing them and smiling (smiling!) was so freaking confusing to me.
…until a few days ago. It’s summer, it’s hot, and when you’re sweaty, pads bunch up, which make them even more unpleasant. I was tired of the mess and the idea of even one more pad in 100-degree heat…well, I thought it was time to try tampons again.
More unhappiness from my vagina. I put the tampon in, but it was like I’d also shoved some air up there too, and my pelvis felt bloated (a symptom I generally don’t get on my period). It hurt. I was not happy. A couple more tampons, same problem. But I wasn’t about to let the evil tampon win this time. I knew there had to be a way to make it work, so I searched online for advice, which was mostly: try another angle. So I did, and! No more bloaty feeling! No pain! Convenience! No pad messiness! It was like a new world opened up.I’m still a novice: so far, I’ve managed to leave a piece of applicator attached to the tampon after inserting it and didn’t notice for hours, failed on a few applicators altogether, and I’m not used to how my flow works with them yet, so I’m paranoid I’ll leak. I went shopping because I ran out, and found myself staring dumbfounded at the boxes and boxes of tampons for five minutes. What absorbency? Which applicator, or what about no applicator for the environment’s sake? Do some kinds REALLY expand more than others, and do I need that? Should I just choose by price? Why do the brands end in X? (Think about it, they really do!) Of course, once I finally picked a box and took it home, I realized I’d bought scented tampons, which I definitely didn’t want, and now I need to exchange them.
I need more practice, but I really do think I can get the hang of this thing called a tampon string.
Have you ever been scared to use tampons? What do you use for your period? Tell me in the comments!